January 22, 2019


Native American man from viral video offers to meet with Catholic students, leaders (Jack Jenkins, 1/22/19, RNS)

Nathan Phillips, a Native American man seen in a viral video of an encounter with a group of Kentucky Catholic school students, says he wants to meet with them and church officials to discuss the incident and turn it into a "teachable moment."

"Let's create space for the teaching of tolerance to happen," Phillips, an Omaha Nation elder, said in a news release from the Lakota People's Law Project. [...]

Phillips says he wants dialogue with the students, and Nelson said the Lakota People's Law Project plans to offer a formal invite to the school soon.

"I have faith that human beings can use a moment like this to find a way to gain understanding from one another," Phillips said.

Phillips offered to visit the school and hold a discussion "about cultural appropriation, racism and the importance of listening to and respecting diverse cultures."

Phillips, in collaboration with the Indigenous Peoples March and the Lakota People's Law Project, is also requesting a meeting with Vatican officials and Pope Francis "to discuss what role the Church might be willing to play in reconciling the Catholic community worldwide with Indigenous people."

"We feel that there is a distinct lack of understanding and appreciation of Native peoples and traditions worldwide," said Phillips. "It's time to address the indecency of culturally appropriating our ritual movements and songs for the enjoyment of non-Native peoples." [...]

Others are also calling for a reunion of the two groups. On Monday, Cincinnati restaurateur Jeff Ruby offered to fly out Phillips first class to his establishment to "break bread and make amends" with Covington Catholic High School students, according to the Courier Journal.

"There might be blame on both sides," Ruby, who has mentored Covington Catholic students, told the Journal. "We have to remember these are kids in this situation. There may have been things done and said in the heat of the moment. I'd like to get both sides together, get them talking and maybe take a moment to stand in the other's shoes."

Posted by at January 22, 2019 7:15 PM